Credit Crisis Diary: 25/04/2009


A speedy U-turn from retailer Alexon


Goodness, 48 hours is a long time in the world of retail. On Wednesday, Bay Trading's parent company, Alexon, sounded confident in its latest trading statement: "New high fashion lines have been well received by customers and the fashion press and a revitalised image has been designed for Bay Trading reflecting its more fashionable proposition". So fashionable, in fact, that Alexon put the company into administration yesterday morning.

I'm Miles but you can call me Simon

Lord Taverne, and Miles Templeton enjoyed a spirited debate on yesterday's Today programme on Radio 4. Mr Templeton, director general of the Institute of Directors, got crosser and crosser as Lord Taverne explained why he is supporting moves to force companies to declare the difference between their best and worst-paid employees. It wasn't so much the argument that irritated the IoD man, but the fact that Lord Taverne kept addressing him as Simon.

The Post Office knows how to send bad news

A helpful missive from the Post Office arrives concerning its phone service. Entitled "We've been listening to what you've been saying", it explains in great detail a range of new services now on offer to customers. It's not until you get to the final paragraph of all the junk that the Post Office remembers to confess it is also whacking up charges by close to 10 per cent. Let's hope that what customers say next is they're not keen on higher bills being sneaked past them in this way.

The Bank of Essex opens its doors

We should – and do – support communities banding together to step in where the mega financial services companies have let them down. But with the best will in the world, it's difficult to suppress a smile when the triumphant announcement of the launch of the Bank of Essex arrives. Good luck to them.

A masterclass for would-be fat cats

Say what you like about the Americans, they do things properly. Chesapeake, the gas company, is facing a shareholder backlash after paying its chief executive a little over $100m last year. He also sold Chesapeake art he owned for $12m, has free use of its private jet service and the company spent $200,000 with a catering company he partly owns. Chesapeake even spends $3.5m a year sponsoring a basketball team in which he has a 20 per cent stake. Sir Fred Goodwin got a bum deal by comparison.

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